Johannesburg, South Africa, February 20, 2017
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, together with The MasterCard Foundation today announced it signed an agreement to a value of $1 million with payments service provider Zoona to strengthen the reach and depth of its mobile banking services for low-income people, small-scale entrepreneurs and rural populations in Zambia.
In Zambia, only about a third of the adult population has access to formal financial services, which means many people are left to rely on their extended families and community networks for support to help them pay school fees, cope with health emergencies, or to source finance for small-scale businesses. Such financial exclusion can be a significant constraint on individual and overall economic development.
Zoona was established in Zambia in 2009, and is today the country’s leading payments service provider. It provides essential financial services through its mobile money platform, and offers emerging entrepreneurs an opportunity to provide money transfers and financial services to low-income consumers through its network of over 1,500 mobile money agents.
“Zoona was founded with the purpose of helping communities thrive. We work with emerging entrepreneurs to lay the foundation for the sustainable and inclusive economic growth necessary to tackle today’s challenges and to secure the future of generations to come. This project will help Zoona expand its work to increase financial inclusion in Africa,” said Lelemba Phiri, Chief Marketing Officer at Zoona.
IFC will provide advisory services for three years to assist Zoona to develop and roll out a new mobile wallet solution that will allow customers to store and send money, with the aim to reach 300,000 new customers. The project is part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance digital financial services in sub-Saharan Africa. Part of Zoona’s unique approach is its commitment to co-developing products with the communities it serves, and this approach will be used for its new mobile wallet product.
Riadh Naouar, head of IFC Financial Institutions Group Advisory Services in sub-Saharan Africa, said, “Mobile money solutions have been rolled out across the continent in recent years with remarkable impact on financial inclusion. Now is the time to focus on the products offered through these mobile platforms to ensure they meet the needs of low-income people and small-scale entrepreneurs and truly help improve peoples’ lives.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit
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Zoona is an African Fintech company founded in 2009 with the vision of helping communities thrive. Since launching, it has created over 3,000 jobs in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. It has empowered over 1,500 entrepreneurs to start their own business and enabled them to earn over $10 million in earnings. The company has processed over $1 billion in mobile money transactions and is used by over 1.5 million active consumers.